SAPNA NYC offers variety of services to help South Asian women living in the city
An organization in the Bronx is working to improve the lives of South Asian women living in New York City.
From basics like food and shelter, to COVID relief and mental health help, SAPNA NYC, Inc. works to make life better for South Asian American women.
The program started back in 2008 and has been growing ever since.
"There just aren't a lot of spaces for women in our community and we wanted a space for them to be able to learn, to grow, to be able to start having dreams and goals of their own," says Diya Basu-Sen, executive director of SAPNA NYC, Inc.
That growth starts with fulfilling basic needs.
"If you don't have food on your table, if you're not able to pay rent, it's really hard to think about anything else like getting a job, going to college," Basu-Sen says.
English and computer classes are offered as a foundation to life in New York City as well, and most recently, a focus on treating mental health.
"When you're new to a country and you don't have that social network, it's really easy to just struggle with depression anxiety. Unfortunately, we also see a fair amount of domestic violence," Basu-Sen says.
Breaking down the stigma that comes with mental health is important for this community, especially after the isolation that so many faced during this pandemic.
"The focus has taken on a different, sharper turn now because they've just been cut away from the outside world," says Arpita Chatterjee, who just signed on as the mental health counselor so that SAPNA NYC can offer even more services.
"We just really think it's important for woman to not just be there for everyone else, but to also make time for themselves and sometimes put themselves first," Basu-Sen says.
All of SAPNA NYC's services are free and the organization is one of the only one of its kind that focuses on South Asian immigrants living in New York City.